The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

May 27, 2013

Annual motorcycle run benefits county Special Olympics athletes

ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — The roar of the bikes and the flash of the chrome is quite a thrill for the Special Olympics athletes of Ashtabula County, but for these athletes, Sunday’s Special Olympics Run means so much more.

The Concerned Motorcycle Riders of Ohio (CMRO) Region 13 host the event each year to raise money for the Special Olympics of Ashtabula County.

“This run is huge for us,” said Pam Burnett, of the Ashtabula County Special Olympics. “It is a month before we leave for the summer games and really helps us pay for our trip to Columbus.”

Burnett said the Ohio Special Olympics puts on a great event for the kids but the local athletes and their families still have to cover the cost of getting there as well as uniforms and other things.

This is about the 15th year for the ride. All the proceeds from the run benefit the athletes in Ashtabula County, said Joni Tackett, CMRO member.

“All the money stays in the county,” she said.

The annual run, held at Lake Shore Park, is the kick-off event for the riding season. The run is held rain or shine, and despite the somewhat chilly temperatures, the sun was shining.

The Rev. Phillip Miller, of St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Conneaut, blessed the bikes before they embarked on their journey. The run started and ended at Lake Shore Park with stops at several other parks in between.

“This is our favorite run because of the kids,” Tackett said. “We really enjoy this run and the kids really enjoy it too.”

As the bikes take off for the run, the athletes line the road and cheer them on. The athletes also cook lunch for the group when they return. The run also featured a bike show, with the Special Olympics athletes judging it.

Sunday’s run had a good turn-out with a number of other local riding groups represented.

“There’s a little bit of everyone here,” Tackett said. “There’s Guardians and American Legion Riders here.”

CMRO will host six more runs this year, most of which will serve as fundraisers for local organizations. Last year, the group donated more than $9,000 to various organizations in the county, Tackett said.

The Jack-in-the-Box Run will be June 23 at Grand River Manor in Austinburg Township. Cost is $10 per person and registration begins at noon. The first bike out leaves at 1 p.m. Sign up as a new CMRO Region 13 member and ride in this run free.

The club will also support the American Red Cross of Ashtabula County. The Ride for the Red benefit run will be held July 27 at the Lake Shore Park main pavilion. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the first bike leaves at 10:30 a.m. Bikes will return at approximately 1:30 p.m. The blood mobile will take blood donations. The event includes food, raffles, and entertainment. Cost is $15 for a single entry and $25 per couple. Non-rider entries are welcome.

The CMRO Region 13 steak fry will be Aug. 3 at DeGee’s II on Lake Avenue in Ashtabula. Registration starts at noon and the first bike out leaves at 1 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person for the dinner.

The annual Toy Run for Charity will be held Sept. 14 at Harassments in Jefferson. Registration begins at 11 a.m. and the first bike out leaves at noon. Registration is $10 or a new toy with a value of $10 or more. The event will feature food, prizes and entertainment.

The year ends with the annual Covered Bridge Run on Oct. 12, where bikers will tour the historic covered bridges of Ashtabula County. Registration starts at 11:30 a.m. at Grand River Manor on Mechanicsville Road. Tickets are $10 per person.

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